Wales: Home of Upcoming Arabian Nights’ Star Anthony Hopkins
UK Destination Entices Gulf Visitors with Its Outstanding Heritage and Culture
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of Wales’s most famous actors, and will soon be appearing in a film version of the famous Arabian Nights story, currently filming in Abu Dhabi. Though the Oscar-winner might now live in LA and jet off to make movies in exotic locations, his connection to his British roots remains strong – and he hasn’t lost his native accent!
Hopkins was born in Port Talbot in South Wales, not too far from Swansea and only an hour from the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. When he was 15 he met another of Britain’s famous faces, Richard Burton, and it is said that the encounter inspired him to become an actor. To celebrate the life of that other film legend, a new ‘Richard Burton Trail’ has been launched in and around his home town in Pontrhydyfen, near Hopkins’s home city of Port Talbot.
Wales is also home to breath-taking terrain, particularly Snowdonia, designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty. Gulf holidaymakers can visit the terrain that the actor is so fond of, choosing from its 100 lakes, 90 mountain peaks (which includes Wales’s highest, Britain’s second highest), and 37 miles of pristine coastlines and beaches.
Hopkins was President of the National Trust’s Snowdonia appeal, working to raise funds to preserve the mountain. He even donated £1m to help buy the mountain when it was put up for sale in the 1990s. At the time he explained his reasons: "Snowdonia is one of the most beautiful places in the world and Snowdon is the jewel that lies at its heart. It must be cherished and protected.”
Wales is also gearing up for the centenary celebrations of one of its most famous poets, Dylan Thomas, in 2014. Hopkins directed a critically acclaimed film about Thomas, Dylan Thomas: The Return Journey, so literary aficionados from the Gulf will be interested in the year long programme of events planned to mark the occasion of his 100th birthday.
It’s not just acting, directing and rescuing mountains that Hopkins excels at. Last year the actor released an album of classical music, which he wrote for two of his own independently released films as well as launching a new work. It was performed by the acclaimed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, who also played music from films Hopkins has starred in, The Remains of the Day and Silence of the Lambs. See the City of Birmingham Orchestra live in their home city at the vibrant and acoustically brilliant Symphony Hall.
Hopkins is a vegetarian – unlike his best-known character Hannibal Lector – so when in Britain’s capital, London, the actor might like to check out highly praised vegetarian restaurant The Gate, with a new branch in Islington, North London, and its original Hammersmith branch currently being refurbished and due to re-open this year. Fellow celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and Stella McCartney have visited the restaurant which ‘takes vegetarian to a whole new level’ – think creative woodland salad with truffles and green banana fritters, rather than endless nut roast. If he likes a hint of spice, Rasa in Stoke Newington serves up the best of Kerala at very reasonable prices, with a laid-back family atmosphere in a trendy part of town.
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